Educator Guide: Animal Habitats

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1 Educator Guide: Animal Habitats This document is a resource for teachers whose classes are participating in the Museum of Science s Animal Habitats Traveling Program. The information in this document may be used as a classroom resource and/or as background information for the teacher concerning the subjects of zoology and ecosystems. Table of Contents: Vocabulary List 2 Further Background Reading...4 Classroom Materials... 5 Activity Descriptions...6 1

2 Vocabulary List This is a list of common biology terms that teachers may wish to be familiar with for the Animal Habitats program. This list is also a suggestion of vocabulary for students participating in the Animal Habitats program to learn, though prior study of these words is not required for student participation. Amphibian a cold blooded (ectothermic) vertebrate that spends the first phase of its life in water, then goes through metamorphosis to alter its body, often altering it for life on land Biology the study of living things Bird a warm blooded (endothermic) vertebrate that has feathers, breathes using lungs, and lays hard shell eggs Camouflage coloration or patterns that help an animal appear to blend with its surroundings Carnivore an animal that primarily eats meat to get nutrition Ectothermic cold blooded; requiring an external source of heat to heat one s body Endothermic warm blooded; being able to heat oneself internally, using food as a fuel source Fish a vertebrate animal that is obligated to live in the water and uses gills to get oxygen Habitat a place where an animal lives and can find all its basic needs: food, water, shelter, air, space and raise young Herbivore an animal that primarily eats plants to get nutrition (not a vegetarian, as a vegetarian is an omnivore who has made the life choice to only eat plants) Invertebrate an animal that does not have a backbone 2

3 Mammal a warm blooded (endothermic) vertebrate that has fur or hair, produces milk, breathes using lungs, and usually has live birth Metamorphosis a significant change in body shape and structure during different stages of a life cycle Omnivore an animal that eats both plants and meat for nutrition Predator an animal that hunts other animals for food Prey an animal that is hunted by other animals Reptile a cold blooded (ectothermic) vertebrate that has scales, usually has soft shell egg development, and breathes using lungs Shelter a place within the animal s habitat where they can go to get out of the weather, hide from predators, keep young safe (eg: burrow, tree, water) Vertebrate an animal with a backbone 3

4 Further Background Reading This is a suggested reading list for teachers looking to improve their understanding of biology and zoology. Books Animal: the Definitive Visual Guide to the World s Wildlife by David Burnie. DK Adult Animal Life: Secrets of the Animal World Revealed by DK Publishing. DK Adult Links Animal Diversity Web (detailed information about particular animal species) National Geographic s Animal Facts pages ARKive (images and facts about endangered species around the world) Berkeley s guide to teaching evolution 4

5 Classroom Materials Below are some suggestions for books and websites to help children increase their understanding of biology and zoology. Books The Magic School Bus Hops Home: A Book About Animal Habitats by Pat Relf. Scholastic Paperbacks National Geographic Encyclopedia of Animals by Karen McGhee and George McKay, PhD. National Geographic Children s Books Wild Animal Planet: Animal Habitats by Michael Chinery. Anness Publishing Animal Habitats by DK Publishing. DK Children Links Animal Games for kids htm Magic School Bus Habitat Game Zoology for kids on the American Museum of Natural History s Ology website Bio Kids Backyard biology Build a Food Web 5

6 Activity Descriptions See the Documents section on the website to download these activities. Camouflage! In this activity, students will work to hide animals from their classmates using their knowledge of camouflage. They will cut out and color in two animal shapes, and try to blend them to the environment around them. As a final challenge, students can go on an animal search to try and locate the cut outs their classmates used camouflage to hide! Hot Paws, Cold Paws In this activity, students will examine just one part of an animal s body its paw to see how an animal would survive in a cold or hot habitat. Two animals will be used to illustrate how an animal is adapted to the temperature of its habitat: a polar bear for cold climates, and a kangaroo for hot ones. Students will see for themselves how blubber keeps a polar bear warm in the icy water, and how kangaroos use their wrists to cool off in the heat! 6

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